In my earlier blog post, we touched on different ways to reward a dog. However, just because a dog loves treats and attention inside, this might not be the case outside.
Imagine you are heading down the usual route to the field where your dog plays, what is your dogs behaviour like? Is he pulling on the lead? Weaving behind you? Whining with excitement? This is because this behaviour has previously allowed the dog to get to where he wants to go, so what is his reward? He has been allowed to move forward towards that place.
There is a term in dog training, "Learn To Earn", and this means that we can use the resources that the dog sees as most valuable at that present time to our advantage and use this to teach the dog how to behaviour to get the desired resource.
You can start with a simple "sit" command for when the dog wants his dinner or wants to go outside, once the dog is used to the "Learn To Earn" or "Saying Please" then this can be transferred to other instances. Going back to the dog pulling on the leash to get to the park, or pulling on the leash when it wants to run around leash free, we must ensure that this behaviour is not rewarded with their desired outcome. Make sure that the second they drift away from your side while on leash, you stop until they return to the heel position.
Teaching a dog to work for its reward is a great way to keep your dogs mind active, reinforce behaviours and also make your life less stressful. It can also be a great use in combatting bad behaviours, ie, if a dog knows that it will not get food off the diner table, it will not try to.